Monday, February 29, 2016

How God Led My Journey to Better Health

Last September I embarked on a serious health overhaul. I needed to lose weight, but more than that, I needed to get healthy. My "numbers" weren't good, and when my doctor prescribed yet another medication, this time to control high triglycerides, I thought, I'm too young to be taking all these medications. And I want to live for a long time.

I began a doctor-supervised weight loss program and met with a nutritionist who asked me lots of questions which resulted in a weight loss plan that was tailored to my habits and lifestyle--something that was not a diet, but would become a way of life. I knew what to do, but I needed accountability and a plan on how to do it.

Six months later I can honestly say that it has become a way of life. The few times I overindulge, I can't wait to get back to my routine. But the best part is that I no longer feel guilty when I do overindulge--or even indulge (I had a wonderful dish of ice cream today, and enjoyed it immensely, and without guilt!).

Many of you--especially my faithful readers--traveled with me on my journey. You ran with me as I began a running program (C25K) and cheered me on when I finally ran that 5K a few months later. 

People have noticed. Oddly, lots of folks make comments like, "Are you okay?" or "You're withering away to nothing." I lost almost thirty pounds. I had to buy a whole new wardrobe (which was kind of fun)! But I'm actually at a healthy weight now and am maintaining.

Because it has been a significant change, people have been asking how I did it. I tell them: I cut way back on portions, eliminated processed sugar, alcohol and carbs. I had a certain amount of calories that I was allowed each day and I stuck to it. I didn't eat much during the day (and still don't) and saved my one meal for a healthy and relaxed dinner with Hubbles. And I exercised. Every day.

But I realized today that I have been leaving out a HUGE, HUGE factor:

God.

I have dieted before. I successfully lost weight on Weight Watchers and then gained it back. I tried giving up sweets and said, "I'm addicted. I just can't do it." I, like many others, spent years yo-yo dieting. 

It wasn't until this time, when I realized I was putting myself at risk by continuing in my ignorance that I turned to God and said, "I just can't do this alone. I need your help, Lord."

I had to look at the why and not just the what and how.

  • Why did I feel the need to turn to food when I was angry, tired, lonely, anxious, upset, excited, etc?
  • Why did I succumb to the temptation of night time eating? What was I really looking for?
  • Why did I feel I needed food more than I needed God?
  • Why did I let food control me?
  • Why did I think that I couldn't exercise?
  • Why did I believe that I couldn't run more than 60 seconds (I really couldn't in the beginning)?


Every time I reached for food that wasn't in the plan or when I wasn't hungry, I had to ask myself, "Is it worth the calories? Am I even hungry? Is there something else that might be a better choice? What is it that I'm longing for? Can you fill it, God?"

Every time I got up at 5:30 am and wanted to go back to sleep, I had to ask, "How will I feel at 6:30 when I get up and realize that I skipped the exercise my body desperately needs because I was just too lazy? Help me, God. I don't want to get up. This is hard and I don't want to do it."

Every time I wanted to quit, when I felt like I couldn't run one more step, all the people on my prayer list came to mind--all those who were grieving, who were prevented from exercise because of illness, disease or other reasons, all those who were struggling with cancer, depression and other things. I went those extra steps for them.

My journey to better health gradually became less about me and more about God. My focus was on Him, and not on the food, not on what I "had" to give up. One month into it, I had bloodwork done and all my numbers were in the healthy range. Six months later, I'm off almost all my meds. 

If I go too long (more than 3 or 4 days) without running, it at least walking, I start to get antsy. I start to crave it. I really get what "runner's high" is. I never in a million years would have thought that I could enjoy running--I HATED it. But I love it. I really love it. And I can't wait to run another 5K this spring. That HAS to be a "God" thing!

A big part of weight loss is getting into a routine. Bad habits are hard to break. Good habits are hard to break into. I don't know why that is. Maybe because bad ones are so much more fun. Until they start to affect your health.

If you're struggling with your health, weight loss, exercise or anything else, and it's not working, consider this:

Maybe it's not working because you haven't invited God to fulfill your needs. Invite Him on your journey. He wants to be a part of it. 

When you learn to crave God more than your habit, your sin, your addiction--whatever--minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day it will become less about you and more about Him. And one day you'll realize that whatever it is you're struggling with has lost its grip on you. It no longer has control over you. When that day comes, I will rejoice with you and shout, "Hallelujah!"

Thanks for reading my testimony!


"Now" Photo credit Amy Maddaluna

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

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7 comments:

  1. Mare, you are inspiring me. I think I've mentioned before losing 35 pounds on a weight loss program, and keeping it off for a fair amount of time. Then, when I moved to the mountains, I got depressed and lonely. And then, with all the stress of the last few years dealing with my parents' situation, I've lost my way. I've gained all the weight back and I feel just terrible - physically and emotionally.

    Please pray for me as I know that I have to make some changes. But, it's really, really hard to get started. Your example shines brightly for me.

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Aw, Sharon, I will! I know how life just has a way of getting in the middle of our best intentions, even when God is a part of it. Invite Him in, and set small, attainable goals. I think that when we make our goals too big, it gets overwhelming and we become discouraged. And be kind to yourself! I know how you feel, though...I felt disgusted with myself every time I looked in the mirror. And every time I failed, I was even more disgusted. But if we look at our failures as opportunities to draw closer to what God wants, and to turn to him instead of other things that bring us temporary comfort, and we know how much God loves us and wants the best for us--and we understand grace and mercy, we won't berate ourselves so much! If you ever want to connect via email, feel free--SonRiseINsights@gmail.com

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  2. God is our most powerful Healer. Amazing how He can change even the most impossible situation into something beautiful worthy of spreading.

    This most definitely had inspired many. Including myself.

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    1. Thanks, Lux. I don't know how I have been forgetting to include Him as the major part of my success!

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  3. This is so encouraging, Mary. Thanks for sharing your story with Thought-Provoking Thursday! Proud of you :)

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  4. I'm so glad you did your weight loss the right way, Mary as well as including God in the process ... at least here at the tail end of your journey. I think He is able to motivate and strengthen us in every area of our lives. I wish I could run. I walk on a treadmill at home because I have a bad knee--bone on bone. Also battle Rheumatoid Arthritis that doesn't help. But I know that if I don't stick with my exercise routine, I will be in a whole world of hurt! Thanks for inspiring us and I'm so impressed with your perseverance and progress, girlfriend!

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